The Best 55 Live Music Venues in Chicago



Perhaps you hang out at The Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village.  Maybe your haunt is the Debonair Social Club in Wicker Park.  It could be that you’re a frequent patron of Café Mustache in Logan Square.

Our list of the 55 best live music venues in Chicago isn’t about where you go.  It’s about where you need to go next.  It’s all about the venues you haven’t visited… yet.

The 55 venues listed below run the gamut from a small dive bar to the largest arena in the United States.  Obviously, size doesn’t matter to us.  What does matter is quality and experience. 

We’d rather support a venue that hosts one great performance a week then a venue that hosts several mediocre ones.

That’s because you can’t appreciate a tight jam band, a hot hip hop artist, or a beautiful songbird unless they perform at a venue that’s focused on the music and the people listening.

The following 55 establishments are worth the time and effort involved in leaving your neighborhood and/or making a trip across town.  And if you’re visiting Chicagoland, these venues will help make your stay an enjoyable one. 

If you love live music, if you want an exciting night in Chi-Town, if you’re looking for a memorable experience, then you must visit as many of our selections as you can.

aliveOne


(773) 348- 9800
2683 North Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614

Bar hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday through Friday: 5pm to 2am
Saturday: 5pm to 3am

What we like about aliveOne: On their walls, you’ll find fascinating memorabilia and interesting photographs. Their jukebox contains live recordings of rock’s best music.

Why aliveOne is on our list: This is an attractive venue that lets music fans see up-and-coming bands before they hit it big.

What you need to know: aliveOne is comprised of two bars, one in the front and one in the back.  Visit both, because each has their own distinct vibe.


Good Enough warming up. Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Artango Bar & Steakhouse


(872) 208-7441
4767 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 5pm to 11pm
Friday: 5pm to 1am
Saturday: 4pm to 1am
Sunday: 3pm to 10pm

What we like about Artango: This esteemed bar and steakhouse offers mouthwatering Argentine cuisine, impeccable service, and tango classes.

Why Artango is on our list: Their roaring twenties atmosphere creates an unforgettable live music experience. 

What you need to know: In this case, it’s what “tango aficionados” need to know.  Every Friday night, Artango shows off their immense passion for the tango.

 

Beat Kitchen


(773) 281-4444
2100 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 4pm to 2am (kitchen closes at 4:30pm)
Saturday: 11:30am to 3am (kitchen closes at 11:30am)
Sunday: 11:30am to 2am (kitchen closes at 11:30am)

What we like about Beat Kitchen: You can build-your-own pizza.

Why Beat Kitchen is on our list: This fashionable establishment in Roscoe Village absolutely loves what they do and what they do is create a remarkable environment in which to enjoy great live music.

What you need to know: Come here to see tomorrow’s important alternative, punk, garage, and power pop bands.  Occasionally, Beat Kitchen will host a comedian.

 

Beauty Bar Chicago


(312) 226-8828
1444 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 7pm to 2am
Saturday: 7pm to 3am
Sunday: 9pm to 2am

What we like about Beauty Bar: They are ultra-cool, super kitsch, and a whole lot of fun.  It’s a nightclub with a sense of humor.

Why Beauty Bar is on our list: You must love a live music venue that offers refreshing cocktails and manicures.

What you need to know: The “beauty” part of the Beauty Bar usually ends around midnight (call ahead for complete details).

 

Bordel Chicago


(773) 227-8600
1721 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Friday: 8pm to 2am
Saturday: 8pm to 3am

What we like about Bordel Chicago: This establishment whisks you back to Chicago's Prohibition Era and the glory days of speakeasies.  Bordel’s décor is jaw-dropping.

Why Bordel Chicago is on our list: Besides live music and entertainment, this is an establishment where one can indulge all their senses—in a good way, of course.

What you need to know: Bordel boasts live entertainment every night.  Their calendar includes live DJs as well as jazz, vaudeville, and burlesque acts.


Sally Marvel performing at Bordel Chicago.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Bottom Lounge


(312) 666-6775
1375 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Kitchen hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Sunday: 11am to 10pm

What we like about Bottom Lounge: They are a top-notch music venue, restaurant, and bar.  They book nothing but quality live acts and serve American staples, craft beer, and small batch whiskey.

Why Bottom Lounge is on our list: Their marquee is constantly adorned with names of buzzworthy bands like Slothrust, The Stolen, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and Veil of Maya. 

What you need to know: Bottom Lounge’s restaurant is open on Mondays for confirmed performances and Chicago Blackhawks home games.

 

Buddy Guy's Legends


(312) 427-1190
700 South Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605

Kitchen hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday & Tuesday: 5pm to 2am
Wednesday through Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 12pm to 3am
Sunday: 12pm to 2am

What we like about Buddy Guy's Legends: They have an impressive collection of blues memorabilia. 

Why Buddy Guy's Legends is on our list: Quite simply, this is one of the best blues venues in the world. 

What you need to know: Buddy Guy’s Legends presents live blues seven nights a week and serves fine southern Cajun soul food.  The name isn’t ceremonial.  This establishment is owned and operated by Buddy Guy and his family.

 

Cafe Mustache


(773) 687-9063
2313 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Cafe hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 7am to 6pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 6pm

Bar hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday through Friday: 6pm to 2am
Saturday: 6pm to 3am

What we like about Cafe Mustache: They have a jukebox that plays vinyl records!  Their coffee, microbrews, cocktails, and food are spectacular.

Why Cafe Mustache is on our list: The young entrepreneurs behind the ‘Stache have successfully combined a coffee shop, bar, and live music venue into a single establishment.  That’s not easy to do.

What you need to know: Their kitchen closes at 3pm.  After 6pm, Cafe Mustache turns 21+ and turns off the WIFI.

 

The California Clipper


(773) 384-2547
1002 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 8pm to 1:30am
Saturday: 8pm - 2am
Sunday: 8pm - 1:30am

What we like about The California Clipper: Their cocktail menu contains more than 70 libations.

Why The California Clipper is on our list: This is an amicable spot to hang with friends and enjoy an eclectic mix of live music.  

What you need to know: Besides live jazz, country, and world acts, The California Clipper also welcomes DJs and other kind of performers to its stage.

 

Chicago Street Pub


(815) 727-7171
75 North Chicago Street
Joliet, IL 60432

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 1am
Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 5pm to 2am

What we like about Chicago Street Pub: This hangout has an affable neighborhood feel and their food is simple but fabulous.

Why Chicago Street Pub is on our list: They are Joliet’s best live music venue.  While there, you’ll probably be serenaded by an unknown, but extremely talented, artist.

What you need to know: "Go Raith mi Agat."  The phrase means: “Thank you very much.”


Outside view of Chicago Street Pub.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Chicago Theatre


(312) 462-6300
175 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 12pm - 6pm

What we like about the Chicago Theatre: It’s a beautiful space operated by a world class staff.  The Chicago Theatre opened in 1921 and seats 3,553.

Why the Chicago Theatre is on our list: Their “C-H-I-C-A-G-O” sign is one of the city’s defining images.  This is an iconic music venue that has hosted a surfeit of the world’s best-known acts.

What you need to know: Their box office is on North State Street between Lake and Randolph.

 

City Winery


(312) 733-9463
1200 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 6pm

What we like about City Winery: They are a concert venue, winery, and restaurant.  They specialize in great music, great wine, and great food.

Why City Winery is on our list: Their intimate stage has been graced by a slew of distinguished acts including Rickie Lee Jones, Delbert McClinton, Michelle Shocked, and GZA.

What you need to know: City Winery is housed in a 33,000-square foot warehouse and was remodeled with repurposed materials.

 

Coco Club


(773) 801-0724
3350 West 47th Street
Chicago, IL 60632

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Friday to Saturday: 9pm to 3am

What we like about the Coco Club: This establishment is a discrete and sophisticated speakeasy. 

Why the Coco Club is on our list: One night they’ll book dueling pianos.  The next night they’ll book a lounge singer.  Regardless of who’s performing at the Coco Club, have confidence that he or she will be entertaining, talented, and classy.

What you need to know: Located on the second floor of Maddanthony's, just tell the doorman, “I’m with the club,” and you’ll be escorted inside.

 

Coop's Den


(630) 759-0148
148 West Boughton Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Thursday: 4pm to 12am
Friday and Saturday: 4pm to 2am

What we like about Coop's Den: Lawrence and Samantha Cooper work hard to provide the Western Suburbs with a neighborly destination for live music and cuisine.

Why Coop's Den is on our list: Come to Coop’s Den on Friday and Saturday nights for exciting live music and/or a groove-inducing DJ.

What you need to know: Gym shoes, tennis shoes, and sports hats are not permitting after 6pm on Friday and Saturday.  Contact Coop's Den for more information about their dress code.

 

Copernicus Center


(773) 777-8898
5216 West Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60630

Office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 9:30am to 4:30pm
Box office opens two hours before event

What we like about Copernicus Center: This venue is pure eye candy and their acoustics are sweet on the ears.

Why Copernicus Center is on our list: They book important performing artists from a wide range of cultures.  Your show will likely be in CC’s Mitchell P Kobelinski Theater.

What you need to know: The Copernicus Center is supported by The Copernicus Foundation, a non-profit organization serving Chicago’s large Polish population.  Both the venue and the foundation are named after astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.


Copernicus Center’s "Solidarity Tower" was erected in 1985.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Cubby Bear Wrigleyville


(773) 327-1662
1059 West Addison
Chicago, IL 60613  

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Wednesday through Friday: 11am to close
Saturday: 11am to 3am
Sunday: 11am to 2am

What we like about Cubby Bear Wrigleyville: They are a highly acclaimed sports bar, but their 30,000 square feet of awesomeness makes them the place to go for live music after Cubs games.

Why Cubby Bear Wrigleyville is on our list: They entertain baseball and music fans with major artists from blues, funk, and every genre in between.

What you need to know: Located across the street from the main entrance to Wrigley Field, you can watch the Cubbies win on more than 75 plasma televisions!

 

Debonair Social Club


(773) 227-7990
1575 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Wednesday: 9pm to 2am
Friday: 8pm to 2am
Saturday: 8pm to 3am

What we like about Debonair Social Club: They occupy not one but two levels. Each level has a bar, food service, and a dance floor.  Debonair has a reputation for attracting hipsters but all are welcome.

Why Debonair Social Club is on our list: A “social club” is a meeting place. Debonair has created a “meeting place” for enthusiasts who enjoy influential and trendsetting music.

What you need to know: Debonair Social Club has received several national accolades.

 

Double Door


(773) 489-3160
1572 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

What we like about Double Door: The Rolling Stones played a secret show here in 1997.

Why Double Door is on our list: Since 1994, Double Door has been hosting the best in rock, hip hop, punk, and metal.

What you need to know: Double Door is standing room only. Door No. 3 is located downstairs and hosts a variety of events including acoustic performances and DJs.

 

Empty Bottle


(773) 276-3600
1035 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Wednesday: 5pm to 8pm
Thursday: 3pm to 8pm
Friday: 3pm to 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am to 8pm

What we like about Empty Bottle: Attending a concert here is more like hanging out with the coolest kid on campus in their basement party room.

Why Empty Bottle is on our list: This is a super cool music venue with astounding acoustics, sight lines, and staff.  The odds are high that after seeing just one show at the Empty Bottle it will become your new favorite dive bar.

What you need to know: Their DJ equipment is housed in their piano.  Before the piano was gutted, its ivories were tickled by the frontman for The Flaming Lips, Michael Coyne.

 

Evanston SPACE


(847) 492-8860
1245 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
On show nights from 5pm to 9pm

What we like about Evanston SPACE: They employ the latest technology, but still manages to keep their atmosphere warm and welcoming.

Why Evanston SPACE is on our list: This is a utilitarian music venue.  Evanston SPACE is not concerned about promoting a particular genre of music, but rather creating a memorable experience for performers and patrons.

What you need to know: Evanston SPACE cares about your experience.  If you have a question about one of their upcoming events, send them an email at info@evanstonspace.com.


Overcoats performing at Evanston Space.  Image, taken by Harvey Tillis, courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

The Geraghty


(312) 967-2520
2520 South Hoyne Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608

What we like about them: Their event space is completely customizable.

Why The Geraghty is on our list: The space was conceived by Kehoe Designs.  It’s a state-of-the-art facility for hosting events.  If you’re ever invited to The Geraghty, make sure you go.

What you need to know: Renowned event designer Tom Kehoe named this venue after his mother, Mickey Geraghty Kehoe. 

 

The Grafton Pub and Grill


(773) 271-9000
4530 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 11am to 3am
Sunday: 11am to 2am
Kitchen open until 11pm

What we like about The Grafton Pub and Grill: Every Wednesday they host an open mic night.  The staff at Grafton asks that firebreathers stay at home.

Why The Grafton Pub and Grill is on our list: A cozy haunt in Lincoln Square that schedules elite American and Irish folk musicians. 

What you need to know: The Grafton Pub and Grill is named after a street in Ireland.

 

Green Mill Jazz


(773) 878-5552
4802 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 12pm to 4am
Saturday: 12pm to 5am
Sunday: 11am to 4am

What we like about Green Mill Jazz: Owner Dave Jemillo has created a stylish but welcoming bastion of jazz ethos and mythos.

Why Green Mill Jazz is on our list: If you love jazz music, you need to make a pilgrimage to Green Mill Jazz.  They take patrons back to an age when jazz was the dominate force in music.

What you need to know: Al Capone used to frequent this establishment.

 

Havana Pan Latin Grill & Mojito Bar


(312) 644-1900
412 North Clark
Chicago, IL 60654

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 12pm to 3am

What we like about Havana Pan Latin Grill & Mojito Bar: When you step into their 1940s art-deco-themed establishment, you’re immediately transported back to pre-revolution Cuba.

Why Havana Pan Latin Grill & Mojito Bar is on our list: You’ll come for the Cuban-American cuisine, but you’ll stay to dance to their hot Latin rhythms. 

What you need to know: Havana serves the best mojitos in Chicagoland.

 

The Hideout


(773) 227-4433
1354 West Wabansia
Chicago, IL 60642

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday and Tuesday: 5pm to 2am
Wednesday through Friday: 4pm to 2am
Saturday: 7pm to 3am

What we like about The Hideout: They have a knack for catchy bylines like: “regular guy bar for irregular folks,” "the last hold-out of the rebel club," and "The Hideout is not your Dad’s bar, but your Granddad’s bar."

Why The Hideout is on our list: Intimate clime, wonderful workforce, cordial owners, and windows that actually open are just four of the many reasons to hideout at The Hideout.

What you need to know: The Hideout is stationed in a century-old balloon-frame house.  Legend says the building was constructed in two days.


Performance at The Hideout.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

H.O.M.E. - House of Music & Entertainment


(847) 577-4663
1227 North Rand Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday through Thursday: 11am to 3am
Friday & Saturday: 11am to 4am

What we like about H.O.M.E.: Under their roof, you’ll find a friendly staff, solid acoustics, and stadium-style booth seating.

Why H.O.M.E. is on our list: This is a superior 1,000-seat music venue that books a massive range of genres.  H.O.M.E. has something for everyone. 

What you need to know: After you’ve feasted on selections from their delicious menu, and in between performances, try your luck on their gaming machines.

 

Honky Tonk Bbq


(312) 226-RIBS (7427)
1800 South Racine Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Friday: 4pm to 2am
Saturday: 4pm to 3am
Sunday: 4pm to 2am

What we like about Honky Tonk Bbq: They offer live music and championship barbeque in a comfortable and hospitable setting.

Why Honky Tonk Bbq is on our list: Their “Saloon Stage” greets local and national touring acts that specialize in American Roots.  Keep an eye on their calendar.  They frequently dip into the worlds of rock and jazz.

What you need to know: Their award-winning barbeque is prepared over a wood burning fire.  Honky Tonk Bbq also peddles custom cocktails, craft beers, and candied bacon.

 

HVAC Pub


(773) 789-8864
3530 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Thursday through Saturday: 7pm to close
For Cubs home games, doors open two hours before first pitch

What we like about HVAC Pub: They have tons of style.  Literally.  The venue was inspired by café racers and vinyl records.  Due its proximity to Wrigley Field, HVAC also has a hint bit of baseball. 

Why HVAC Pub is on our list: There’s a lot to do at HVAC Pub: enjoy live music, partake in some pizza, imbibe a cold beer, and if applicable, watch the Cubs win.

What you need to know: HVAC Pub dishes up locally sourced “All-American style” pizza.  It’s beyond delicious.

 

Jazz Showcase


(312) 360-0234
806 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60605

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Saturday: 7pm to 12am
Sunday: 3pm to 12am

What we like about Jazz Showcase: Owner Wayne Segal, who turned 91 in April of 2017, welcomes every patron that walks into his venue.

Why Jazz Showcase is on our list: They’ve hosted sets by dozens of jazz luminaries including Count Basie, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

What you need to know: This is where Jazz lives in Chicago.  It’s been the genre’s address since 1947.

 

Joe's on Weed St.


(312) 337-3486
940 West Weed Street
Chicago, IL 60642

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday: 11am to 6pm
Tuesday through Thursday: 11am to 12am
Friday: 11am to 4am
Saturday: 10:30am to 5am
Sunday: 10:30am to 12am

What we like about Joe's on Weed St.: Within their 20,000-square foot venue, you'll find exciting live music, scrumptious food, and 120 plasma televisions.

Why Joe's on Weed St. is on our list: The Academy of Country Music named Joe's the nightclub of the year not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times.

What you need to know: Joe’s on Weed St. has welcomed performers like Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Salt N Pepa.  They also broadcast all the big games.


Performance at Joe’s on Weed St.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Kingston Mines


(773) 477-4646
2548 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday: 6pm to 4am
Monday through Thursday: 7:30pm to 4am
Friday: 7pm to 4am
Saturday: 7pm to 5am

What we like about Kingston Mines: They have two stages and a wonderful kitchen.  In other words, you can enjoy live music and food all night long.

Why Kingston Mines is on our list: They are the longest, and oldest, continuously operated blues venue in the Windy City.  The establishment was founded in 1968.

What you need to know: Their trademarked motto is “Hear Blues – Drink Booze – Talk Loud – You’re Among Friends!”

 

Lincoln Hall


(773) 525-2508
2424 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Bar opens one hour before doors open
Doors open one before show time

What we like about Lincoln Hall: This venue is clean, well lit, and sonically impressive.

Why Lincoln Hall is on our list: You know that band you’re hearing in every record store or that artist your hipster friends can’t stop talking about?  Well, they’re performing at Lincoln Hall.

What you need to know: Lincoln Hall, and its sister venue Schubas, are both owned by brothers Mike and Chris Schuba.

 

Merkle's Bar & Grill


(773) 244-1025
3516 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60657

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday through Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 11am to 3am
Regardless of above times, opens two hours before every Cubs and Iowa Hawkeyes football games

What we like about Merkle's Bar & Grill: Come here to hang out with friends, listen to music, and of course, watch the Cubbies win.

Why Merkle's Bar & Grill is on our list: Yes, this is a Cubs bar, but in between games they go to the bullpen for some notable live acts like The Holy Cows, Chris Buehrle, Dan Harvey, and the Senn Alan Band.

What you need to know: The bar is named after Fred Merkle, a baseball player around the turn of the 20th century that was responsible for “Merkle’s Boner”—a “bonehead” play that went in favor of the Boys in Blue.

 

Metro


(773) 549-4140
3730 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60613

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday: 12pm to 6pm
Tuesday through Saturday: 12pm to 8pm

What we like about Metro: They have a fabulous sound system and they attract uber-talented artists—the kind that actually play guitars.

Why Metro is on our list: R.E.M. played the first ever show at this venue.  How cool is that?  Since then, Metro has welcomed a slew of prominent acts including Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, and Chance the Rapper.

What you need to know: Metro Chicago is located just two blocks north of Wrigley Field.  It’s upstairs.  Downstairs is their sister venue, and another entry on our list, Smart Bar.


Laura Marling with Valley Queen. Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Nacional 27


(312) 664-2727
325 West Huron
Chicago, IL 60654

Dining room hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Wednesday through Thursday: 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Friday: 5:30pm to 11pm
Saturday: 5:30pm to 11pm

Vida 27 dance club hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Friday: 11pm to 2am
Saturday: 11pm to 3am

What we like about Nacional 27: This is a cultured nightclub where the drinks and fare are first rate.  Chef Chico Vilchez draws inspiration from more than two dozen Central and South American countries.

Why Nacional 27 is on our list: Their DJs spin hot Latin beats.  The kind of dance music that will get you onto their dancefloor. 

What you need to know: N27 offers Salsa lessons every Wednesday.


Carnivale Celebration 2017 at Nacional 27.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Paco's Sol Bistro


(217) 330-6483
237 North Main Street
Decatur, IL 62523

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am to 9pm

What we like about Paco's Sol Bistro: Their food is amazing.  We recommend their chicken meatloaf.

Why Paco's Sol Bistro is on our list: There are larger music venues, and music venues that book more acts, but none work harder to give you a great time and a memorable experience.

What you need to know: Paco's Sol Bistro believes in giving back to their community.  Check out their website for details.

 

Paladar Cuban Restaurant/Rum Bar


773-252-4747
2252 North Western
Chicago, IL 60647

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am to 12am
Sunday: 11am to 11pm
Kitchen closes 30 minutes before closing

What we like about Paladar: They serve more than 60 premium rums.

Why Paladar is on our list: This establishment will transport you back to Havana’s halcyon days.  Their live Latin music provides the prefect soundtrack for your journey.

What you need to know: Rum Bar hosts live Latin music every Tuesday night.

 

Park West


(773) 929-5959
322 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 10am to 4:45pm
Saturday and Sunday: if there's a show
Extended hours on concert nights

What we like about Park West: Their stage is in the corner of the room—you don’t see that very often.  They have a huge dance floor and table seating.

Why Park West is on our list: They consistently book nationally renowned musicians and entertainers.  They also excel in the key areas of acoustics, sight lines, and staff.

What you need to know: Park West is a great blend of modern and retro.  Remember, it’s in a building that goes back all the way to the 1920s.

 

Pete Miller's Evanston


(847) 328-0399
1557 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 4:30pm to 10pm
Friday through Saturday: 4:30pm to 12am
Sunday: 4:30pm to 9pm

What we like about Pete Miller's Evanston: This is a happening place, reminiscent of a bygone era when being “connected” meant talking to people and a “social network” was the scene at your local nightclub.

Why Pete Miller's Evanston is on our list: They do more than offer live jazz.  They offer live swingin’ jazz.  Their stage is booked just about every night.

What you need to know: The burger from their bar menu has been voted “Best in Chicago.”

 

The Promontory


(312) 801 – 2100
5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West
Chicago, IL 60615

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday: 11am to 1am
Saturday: 9am to 1am
Sunday: 9am to 11pm

What we like about The Promontory: "Dolla Holla Thurdays!"  Every Thursday, DJs spin themed hip hop.

Why The Promontory is on our list: They care about live music and they care about their patrons.  The Promontory turns every concert into a special event.

What you need to know: You’ll want to have dinner downstairs and then venture upstairs to enjoy the live music.


A couple dancing at The Promontory.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

Reggies'


(312) 949-0120
2105 South State
Chicago, IL 60616

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday through Friday: 11am to 2am
Saturday: 11am to 3am

What we like about Reggies': In their concert venue, also known as Reggie’s Rock Club, a gradually sloped floor gives attendees prime views of the performers.  Their stage is framed by murals created by local graffiti artists.

Why Reggies' is on our list: This is two music venues in one.  The aforementioned Rock Club schedules acts on the vanguard of their respective genres.  Their other performance space, the Music Joint, is more causal and resembles that long-standing neighborhood bar everyone loves.

What you need to know: There’s a lot of fantastic stuff under Reggie’s roof: two concert venues, record store, roof deck, bar, and grill.  They also have a fleet of party buses.

 

Rhyme or Reason


(773) 687-8240
1938 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Friday: 4pm to close
Saturday: 10:30am to 2am
Sunday: 10:30am to close

What we like about Rhyme or Reason: We can’t make up our minds. It’s either their RoR burger or their steak tartare.

Why Rhyme or Reason is on our list: This is a 70’s inspired music venue that dutifully combines the dinner party concept with soulful music.

What you need to know: Rhyme or Reason is “bringing funky back to Wicker Park.”

 

River Roast


(312) 822-0100
315 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Lunch hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 11:30am to 3pm

Dinner hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 5pm to 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 11pm
Sunday: 5pm to 9pm

Brunch hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Saturday & Sunday: 11am to 2:30pm

What we like about River Roast: Every seat in the house has a stirring view of the Chicago River and/or the cityscape. 

Why River Roast is on our list: Brews & Blues Brunch occurs on the weekend, but the mesmerizing live music, and Chef Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef John Hogan’s modern American tavern creations, leave a lasting impression.

What you need to know: River Roast has two bars.  Both have robust choices of wine, beer, and cocktails.

 

Schubas Tavern


(773) 525-2508
3159 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60657

Bar hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 5pm to 2am
Friday: 4pm to 2am
Saturday: 12pm to 3am
Sunday: 3pm to 2am

What we like about Schubas Tavern: This is an intimate venue with tremendous acoustics and a chill atmosphere.  They book top indie talent with a bent toward acoustic performers.

Why Schubas Tavern is on our list: This is not only one of the top live music venues in Chicago’s, it’s one of the top live music venues in the United States.

What you need to know: Schubas Tavern, as well as Lincoln Hall, are owned by Chris and Mike Schuba.

 

Smart Bar


(773) 549-4140
3730 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60613

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Thursday, Friday & Sunday: 10pm to 4am
Saturday: 10pm to 5am

What we like about Smart Bar: Elite DJs spin bona fide house music though a killer sound system.  Patrons actually dance. 

Why Smart Bar is on our list: If you want to experience a true dance club, you need to visit this site.  Smart Bar is a mecca for EDM fanatics.

What you need to know: Smart Bar is found two blocks north of Wrigley Field.  Their sister venue, Metro, is upstairs.  It’s another entry on our list.


Patrons having a good time at Smart Bar.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

The Smoke Daddy


(773) 772-6656
1804 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday: 11am to 12am
Saturday: 10am to 12am
Sunday: 10pm to 10am

What we like about The Smoke Daddy: This is a charming barbeque and blues joint that makes you happily over-indulge on both.

Why The Smoke Daddy is on our list: Every night, this place heats up with huge doses of blues, either acoustic or electric.  Peruse their calendar as they occasionally plot a rock or alternative country act.

What you need to know: Bring as many friends as you can.  That way, everyone in your party can order something different and each of you can share your meal.  Trust us, you’ll want to try everything.

 

Southport & Irving


(773) 857-2890
4000 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613

Dinner hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Tuesday through Thursday: 5pm to 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm to 11pm
Sunday: 5pm to 9pm
Thursday and Friday: kitchen is open until 1am

What we like about Southport & Irving: They believe in diversity.  Southport & Irving serve “American cuisine” that’s inspired by a myriad of cultures.  For example, they offer Cuban nachos, gambas al ajillo, and pork ramen.

Why Southport & Irving is on our list: It’s a treat to visit this establishment any night of the week, but if you can swing it, go when they’ve booked a jazz artist.  It’s the prefect compliment to their menu and atmosphere.

What you need to know: On Sundays, tell Southport & Irving what kind of cocktail you like and they’ll immediately whip something up that’s sure to please your taste buds.

 

Spybar


(312) 337-2191
646 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Wednesday through Friday: 10pm to 4am
Saturday: 10pm to 5am
Sunday & Monday: 10pm to 4am

What we like about Spybar: Even though this venue exudes energy, it’s very intimate too. 

Why Spybar is on our list: For nearly two decades, they’ve been bringing the globe’s best DJs to Chicagoland. 

What you need to know: Spybar is a true underground club.  Its 4,500 square feet of space is located below street level.

 

Thalia Hall


(312) 526-3851
1807 South Allport Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Wednesday: 5pm to 8pm
Saturday: 12pm to 5pm (at Dusek's)
On show nights when doors open

What we like about Thalia Hall: Craig Golden and Bruce Finkelman are faithfully restoring Thalia Hall to its original glory. 

Why Thalia Hall is on our list: Their staff is awesome.  Their facility is easy to enter.  Their interior is stunning.

What you need to know: Thalia Hall was finished in 1892 and modeled after opera houses in Prague.

 

Uncommon Ground


“Lakview”
(773) 929-3680
3800 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60613

“Edgewater”
(773) 465-9801
1401 West Devon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660

Lakeview kitchen hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Sunday: 9am to 9pm
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday: 11am to 11pm
Saturday: 9am to 11pm

Edgewater kitchen hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 4pm to 9pm
Friday: 4pm to 11pm
Saturday: 9am to 11pm
Sunday: 9am to 9pm

Both locations: bar opens 1 hour later

What we like about Uncommon Ground: At either location, you can experience down-to-Earth music and down-to-Earth cuisine. 

Why Uncommon Ground is on our list: Their cozy music room is the perfect setting for an evening of live tunes, appetizing food, and refreshing beer.  Uncommon Ground schedules performers just about every evening.

What you need to know: Their menu showcases seasonal, regional, and organic ingredients. Uncommon Ground broke ground by erecting the first “certified organic roof top farm” in the United States.


Outside of Uncommon Ground’s “Lakview” location.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 

United Center


(312) 455-4500
1901 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60612

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Non-event days, Monday through Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 11am to 4pm
On game days: 11am to end of first intermission or halftime

Box office summer hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 6pm

What we like about United Center: For a huge venue, there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Why United Center is on our list: This venue attracts the biggest names in music.  Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who have all played at the home of the Blackhawks and Bulls.

What you need to know: United Center is the largest arena in the United States.

 

Untitled


(312) 880-1511
111 West Kinzie Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday: 4:30pm to 12am
Tuesday & Wednesday: 4:30pm to 1am
Thursday & Friday: 4:30pm to 2am
Saturday: 4:30pm to 3am

What we like about Untitled: Their semi-private cabanas are ideal for date night.

Why Untitled is on our list: They plot live music, and cabaret-style entertainment, five nights a week.  They cater to American sounds like jazz, rock, and blues.

What you need to know: Untitled serves more than 500 varieties of whiskies.

 

The Vic


(773) 472-0449
3145 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657

Box office hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Friday: 12pm to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday: if there's a show, box office opens at 3pm
Hours are extended on concert nights

What we like about The Vic: When not hosting prominent live acts, The Vic turns into Brew & View and shows cult, underground, and second-run movies. 

Why The Vic is on our list: It’s a beautiful venue and their acoustics are as close to perfect as you can get.

What you need to know: You should arrive early.  All shows are general admission.  Seating is available in the balcony, but the main floor is usually standing only.

 

The Whistler


(773) 227-3530
2421 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Hours (subject to change, please call ahead)
Monday through Thursday: 6pm to 2am
Friday: 5pm to 2am
Saturday: 5pm to 3am
Sunday: 5pm to 2am

What we like about The Whistler: Their cocktails are to die for, their service is superb, and their “Movieoke” is hilarious.

Why The Whistler is on our list: This Logan Square haunt books an eclectic mix of live music—from jazz to country and everything in between—every night of the week.

What you need to know: The Whistler is also a record label.  Every week, they release a song, or a collection of songs, that were recorded live on their stage.

 

Wire


(708) 669-9473
6815 West Roosevelt Road
Berwyn, IL 60402

What we like about Wire: If you were going to build a music venue from scratch, it would probably look and sound like Wire.

Why Wire is on our list: There’s so much creativity involved with this venue that it has a palatable energy.  At Wire, you do more than listen to music, you celebrate it.

What you need to know: Wire is also a facility for music production and houses the School of Music and Technology.


Now I’m Nothing performing at Wire.  Image courtesy of venue’s Facebook page.

 



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